By Pat Payton
Prior to last Friday night’s home game, goalie Bryce Walcarius was honoured as St. Marys Lincolns’ Player-of-the-Month for December.
Walcarius, a 19-year-old from Aylmer, is a deserving winner as the big lefthander went 4-0 in December. He also posted a shutout over that stretch. The award is sponsored by Quadro Communications and the presentation was made by Lincs’ vice-president Bill Lowe.
Walcarius won his 10th straight start last Friday as the Lincolns skated to a 5-1 victory over the Strathroy Rockets. With a 33-save performance, he improved his personal srecord to 15-4, lowered his goals-against average to 2.36, and boosted his save percentage to .922.
Walcarius currently has more wins than any other goalie in the Western Conference.
–Spencer Hazell appears to be a great addition to the Lincs’ roster. The 6 ft., 2 inch, 185 lb. centre picked up three points (1-2) in his first two games with St. Marys last week.
GM Greg Smale recently signed the free agent. A 20-year-old Western University student, Hazell played two full seasons (2018-20) for Georgetown Raiders of the Ontario Junior Hockey League (OJHL). He sat out last year when no Junior League in the province operated due to Covid-19.
–The London Free Press reports that the London Nationals are under investigation for what multiple sources say was a bounty allegedly offered for a Nationals’ player to target a skater on the Komoka Kings stemming from a GOJHL game approximately three months ago.
The game in question was Oct. 30 in Komoka, won 3-2 by the Kings. Sources told the newspaper last week that the amount of the bounty was $100.
The Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) launched an inquiry after a complaint was received through its harassment, abuse, bullying and misconduct policy related to the allegation of a conversation held between Nats’ team owner Paul Duarte and a Nationals player.
The Free Press said Duarte, London GM Tony Mandarelli, the family of the Nats’ player involved, and Komoka owner/GM Roop Chanderdat all declined to comment on the matter.
–Former Lincolns’ centre Ryan Burke (2019-20) is leading the Navan Grads of the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) in scoring. The 19-year-old Londoner has 16 goals and 35 points in 27 games.
The Grads (16-10-0-1) are currently in third place in the CCHL’s Yzerman Division.
With the Lincs two years ago, Burke was named to the Western Conference all-rookie team after a strong 41-point (13-28) season.
–Former Lincolns’ centre Cal O’Reilly (2002-03) is leading the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in scoring with nine goals and 28 points in 38 American League games.
Phantoms are the AHL’s Philadelphia Flyers’ AHL farm club. O’Reilly, a 35-year-old from the Seaforth area, is now in his third season with Lehigh Valley, who are 15-16-6-2 in the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
O’Reilly played three years with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires after his one season as a 16-year-old with the Lincs. He collected 81 assists in his final season with the Spits (2005-06) after being drafted by the NHL’s Nashville Predators the previous year.
O’Reilly has played in 145 NHL games to date, with Nashville, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Buffalo and Minnesota, clicking for 16 goals and 49 points.
–Former Lincs’ sniper Seth Griffith (2009-10) has been named the American League’s Player-of-the-Month for January.
The 29-year-old Wallaceburg native currently leads the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors in scoring with 15 goals and 40 points in 30 games. He set a team record with five assists in a game recently.
Condors are currently 18-9-4-3 and tied for third place in the AHL’s Pacific Division.
Griffith spent three years with the OHL’s London Knights after his one season in St. Marys. He was named Lincs’ MVP after his stellar 43-goal, 78-point season as a 16-year-old.
Griffith has played 80 NHL games to date, including one this season with Edmonton Oilers. He was originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins.
–Jr. ‘C’ teams in the province have agreed to a new playoff format this season. They will hold a playoff tournament, the week of May 7-15, for the respective conference champions across the province.
Division playoffs will be held in March and April, a recent press release stated.